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Author Topic: Idea: An Editing Mode uniting Complexity & Simplicity  (Read 6473 times)

Magnetar

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Idea: An Editing Mode uniting Complexity & Simplicity
« on: August 05, 2009, 04:50:19 AM »
Hi.
I'm a big fan of force field physics and I love all kind of simulations of gravity and electromagnetism.
I also like Universe Sandbox pretty much since it can be handled quite simple and also has some more complex
features. I especially like that it is capable of displaying velocity and acceleration by changing the colour of the
objects and dust particles. I've also seen that Universe Sandbox is under constant developement and improvement unlike other gravity simulators which I found on the internet. So I would like to give some feedback based on my experience as someone who is interested into making physics understandable and a great fun for everyone who wants to learn more, as well as gamer who've seen various editing tools making complex acts of customization simple.

The big problem I've seen in most gravity simulations are the following two:
A) They are too simple, making complex world manipulations too difficult.
B) They are too complex, making the creation of complex systems very time consuming.

I've not seen any gravity simulation yet being succesful in allowing complex world manipulation with simple tools.
This is where I would like to put in my experience as a gamer. Lots of gaming companies make editors to allow their developers to make complex manipulations with tools which are easy to handle. Most times these companies also publish some of their tools in order to encourage gamers to create custom content for their games. In most cases this increases the longevity of the games.

Now I think Universe Sandbox has a lot of potential and it could be the first gravity simulation uniting complexity & simplicity regarding world manipulation. This would also introduce some new tools to the game, allowing users to create entire solar systems in less than one minute.

I've made a picture which basically describes how I imagine such an editing mode:

Larger Picture: Click Here

The editing mode would be mainly grid based, this means that planets, etc. would be placed on the intersection of a grid. The resolution of this grid could be changed by the user so he has also the ability to setup more complex systems. Alternatively the grid could also be just turned off. Now a big problem of US is that it is in 3D and objects are also moving in 3D. To allow the user anyways a way of simple editing the user would only be to place objects on one of three planes which are parallel to the planes of the coordinate axis. However to allow the user to move his editing grid along the unused dimension two buttons could be included making the grid jumping one grid unit up or down the unused the dimension. To help the user estimating the distances in 3D also a visual 3d space grid could be turned on. However this grid would only be visual, meaning that the user is still bound to his currently selected editing plane. Also velocity vectors should be included so the user knows to which direction his object is heading. As a way of simple editing, a velocity vector could be also drawn with a "Velocity Vector" tool. The user would have to select his object, as well as a point on the plane in order to make a line which angle and length represent the angle and absolute velocity of the velocity of the object. The ruler tool which I named in the picture "Specific Distance" could be used by the user in order to make a object placed in a specific distance, which however ignores the intersections of the grid. The user would have to select a start object first and then select a second object which should be moved. A window then would simply popup showing the current distance of both objects in an editable field. By editing the current distance the user would basically enter the new distance. All he needs then is to press on ok. The "Orbit" tool would allow the user to make one object orbit another one. The user would first have to select the attractor and then the object which would be supposed to orbit the attractor. A plane and a window would then show up representing the orbital plane. The user can change the angles of the orbital plane in the window or just can keep the default one which will automatically make the current editing plane the orbital plane. After the user gives his ok the editor would automatically set the orbiting object's speed according to the input he made before. Placing new objects could be done with a "Mass" tool. The user clicks on it, selects a intersection on the grid and then has placed a new planet on the grid. The object property window then opens, showing the property of the objects. Alternatively the user could go to a database, where he just could load usual solar system planets and galaxy objects or even self-made objects.

Thank you for reading.
I hope you liked my idea to include a simple editing mode into US with complex features.
I also hope that I haven't suggested too difficult-to-be-realizable stuff.

But I think if it would be possible to include an editing mode in it's possibilities and it's handling similiar to the editing mode I describe, US would beat every other available gravity simulation on this planet.

Regards,
Magnetar. :)
« Last Edit: August 06, 2009, 01:16:55 AM by Magnetar »

FGFG

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Re: Idea: An Editing Mode uniting Complexity & Simplicity
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2009, 05:59:23 AM »
I think that this is one of the longest post on this forum full of suggestions.

However I have a good news and a bad news for you...

Bad news: I think that all what you wrote is unuseful because...

Good news: It has already been suggested and it is a work in progress!  ;D
http://universesandbox.com/forum/index.php/topic,483.0.html
(see the pictures, on the right)

With the new update you will be able to change the orbit parameters, and create objects directly in orbit around other ones.  ;)

See also
http://universesandbox.com/forum/index.php/topic,455.0.html

and
http://universesandbox.com/forum/index.php/topic,228.0.html
« Last Edit: August 05, 2009, 06:03:52 AM by FGFG »

Bla

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Re: Idea: An Editing Mode uniting Complexity & Simplicity
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2009, 06:08:59 AM »
The grids on diffrent dimensions would be very useful. :)

atomic7732

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Re: Idea: An Editing Mode uniting Complexity & Simplicity
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2009, 09:40:10 AM »
Nice pic Magnetar!

I also like the velocity vectors and axes, but Dan already put them on the list!
 ;D

hbmp88

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Re: Idea: An Editing Mode uniting Complexity & Simplicity
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2009, 10:32:50 AM »
I think that is too complex. I would suggest a bendable circle to change orbits. A circular grid viewed from angles from the center of mass using right click and drag to change angles. Then you change to a flat grid using arrows o move. You could turn the grid 90 degrees using right click and drag so its 3D. so the grids intersect in a right angle but you would never notice. Once you turn the grid it locks. There would be a mini map in a corner with a + and - but you could just use the keyboard. You could at a button to minimize it and a small square to open it but it is small. This could be a whole other page like chart. I know Dan is working on it right now, but maybe there is more he could add that he hasn't thought of, so keep the ideas coming

Naru523

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Re: Idea: An Editing Mode uniting Complexity & Simplicity
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2009, 03:44:34 PM »
Awesome Picture.

Chaotic Cow

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Re: Idea: An Editing Mode uniting Complexity & Simplicity
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2009, 08:07:06 PM »
Grids would be cool.


Magnetar

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Re: Idea: An Editing Mode uniting Complexity & Simplicity
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2009, 01:26:35 AM »
I think that this is one of the longest post on this forum full of suggestions.

However I have a good news and a bad news for you...

Good news: It has already been suggested and it is a work in progress!  ;D
http://universesandbox.com/forum/index.php/topic,483.0.html
(see the pictures, on the right)

Heh, seems like I came too late. :o
Though I think my thread is still quite convincing. :D

The grids on diffrent dimensions would be very useful. :)
Grids would be cool.

I think we need grid based editing, since this would allow the user the most accurate way of editing and creating systems.

Nice pic Magnetar!
Awesome Picture.

Thank you. :)

Dan Dixon

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Re: Idea: An Editing Mode uniting Complexity & Simplicity
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2009, 07:06:12 PM »
I love posts like this. Thank you for taking the time to think through these issues and create the mock up interface.

Like FGFG pointed out I'm working on a massive overhaul of the interface that I hope will accomplish your wish:

a gravity simulation [that allows for] complex world manipulation with simple tools.

While I wasn't planning on it before (as you could simply pause Normal mode and make your changes), I'm now thinking about adding an Edit mode (along with Normal and Chart modes). So while you'll still be able to manipulate bodies while the simulation is running in Normal mode, Edit mode will provide even more control (and a grid).

And I need to come up with something better than Normal mode as a name. Any ideas?

...allowing users to create entire solar systems in less than one minute.

That's a great goal. I'm working on it.

Bad news: I think that all what you wrote is unuseful because...

Not at all. :) It's always great to hear another version of an similar idea. And while I've made lots of progress on the UI already, it's a very iterative process.

It's great to read about how you think it should work and be improved. In fact I'm glad you didn't see my other posts first as you've suggested ideas I hadn't though of before. (New ideas just like FGFG's substantial thread from several months ago).

I also hope that I haven't suggested too difficult-to-be-realizable stuff.

Not at all. Anything's possible; it's only a matter of time. :)

Thanks so much.



And of course Wikipedia has an article about this...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iterative_and_incremental_development
"The basic idea behind iterative enhancement is to develop a software system incrementally, allowing the developer to take advantage of what was being learned during the development of earlier, incremental, deliverable versions of the system. Learning comes from both the development and use of the system..."

Chaotic Cow

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Re: Idea: An Editing Mode uniting Complexity & Simplicity
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2009, 11:17:47 AM »

And I need to come up with something better than Normal mode as a name. Any ideas?


Standard Mode?
General Mode?
Regular Mode?

Only things I can think of.

atomic7732

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Re: Idea: An Editing Mode uniting Complexity & Simplicity
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2009, 11:43:17 AM »

FGFG

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Re: Idea: An Editing Mode uniting Complexity & Simplicity
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2009, 01:14:07 PM »
I think that Dan didn't want synonymous: it's pretty easy to search on a vocabulary ;)

I suggest "simulation mode" (as all the other are chart modes or edit modes).

Bla

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Re: Idea: An Editing Mode uniting Complexity & Simplicity
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2009, 01:20:38 PM »
Yes, simulation mode sounds good...
But I also like standard mode.
Halp. ?????????

Magnetar

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Re: Idea: An Editing Mode uniting Complexity & Simplicity
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2009, 03:50:15 AM »
While I wasn't planning on it before (as you could simply pause Normal mode and make your changes), I'm now thinking about adding an Edit mode (along with Normal and Chart modes). So while you'll still be able to manipulate bodies while the simulation is running in Normal mode, Edit mode will provide even more control (and a grid).

It's great to hear that I'm able to contribute with my ideas to the project. :)

Not at all. :) It's always great to hear another version of an similar idea. And while I've made lots of progress on the UI already, it's a very iterative process.

It's great to read about how you think it should work and be improved. In fact I'm glad you didn't see my other posts first as you've suggested ideas I hadn't though of before. (New ideas just like FGFG's substantial thread from several months ago).

Thank you. I think it would have demotivated me a bit to post by seeing another thread before suggesting a similiar feature. But it's good to know that some of my ideas haven't been suggested in that way yet.  Anyways, I'll try to do my best to contribute my ideas to your project. ;)

And of course Wikipedia has an article about this...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iterative_and_incremental_development
"The basic idea behind iterative enhancement is to develop a software system incrementally, allowing the developer to take advantage of what was being learned during the development of earlier, incremental, deliverable versions of the system. Learning comes from both the development and use of the system..."

That kind of developement process is very useful to ensure a high-level of quality for any piece of software produced. I've done a lot of maps for my games and my current project is a map for Team Fortress 2 which is also exactly developed in this way. I regulary (~3 months) release a new version of it. After the release players make their reviews and suggestions to improve the map. In the following months I mainly start to consider which suggestions are possible and how are they realizable. Around 2 weeks before the new release I start testing and including the new features into the map. So far, I have received quite a lot of good ratings and downloads for the map.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2009, 03:55:04 AM by Magnetar »

Bla

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Re: Idea: An Editing Mode uniting Complexity & Simplicity
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2009, 10:17:13 AM »
Btw I think the ruler tool would be very very useful, I hope it can be implemented so I can measure the distances between two bodies I choose myself. :)

Chaotic Cow

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Re: Idea: An Editing Mode uniting Complexity & Simplicity
« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2009, 11:55:35 AM »
Only problem I see with like a cool grid would be the lag.

I turn on hillspheres in just "Our Solar System" which doesn't include moons and it lags.

But now that I think about it...it might be because hillspheres are being calculated to as they can expand and grow I believe.

But still doesn't make sense as nothing is changing in the simulation and it lags.


Hopefully Dan can explain this.